The Children Speak

Learning Lines #22

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we invited every UK school to join RSC Dream Team 2016 and to take part in a nationwide celebration of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As part of this celebration we created a 60 and a 30 minute edit of the play for schools to perform.

Andy Smith, a teacher at Langland Community School, very kindly agreed to trial the 30 minute edit for us and this is a blog of his school's journey.

Two girls reading pages of a script
Photo by David Tett (c) RSc © RSC Browse and license our images

Reflections from the cast & crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

'On both performances I was nervous but I still went on…. After the performances I was really proud of myself' 
Callum, who played Bottom

'When I got my script, (to play the part of) Titania, and we were sitting in a circle I had mixed emotions. I was scared of not learning my lines but after a few rehearsals with Mr Smith helping me along I was happy…When it came to the last performance I felt happy and proud. I would definitely do it again...'
Charlie-Marie, who played Titania

'I thought the play would be rubbish but it wasn’t. I was scared when the lion chased me. I was happy when everyone clapped and laughed when I fell and died.'
Obed, who played Flute and Thisbe (Obed is both an SEN and EAL pupil.)

'It seemed like an actual theatre towards the end of rehearsals because the setting finally got sorted out. Our lights cost 3000 pounds, let me reiterate it 3000 pounds all because of our play. It was worth it though.' 
Nasreen, who played Fairy/Moth (Nasreen is an EAL pupil.)

'These few weeks I learnt a lot. I learnt 3 rules of a play. 1. Always look at the audience. 2. Never let the stage be empty and 3. Remember your lines. This play helped me a lot because it has given me some confidence around people. I LOVE TO DO THIS AGAIN.' 
Kaci, who played a Courtier 

'It was hard at times because Mr Smith kept stressing us out even when we got some of our lines right… Mr Smith kept nagging and nagging at us to be louder, slower, clearer and learn our lines. The more he nagged me the more I learnt my lines…At the end of the performance I felt so happy. It was a tough journey but in the end it was all worth it.' 
Jamelia, who played Puck (Jamelia is an EAL pupil.)

'I was his assistant (director) and I loved it because I got to boss people around. I felt excited about everything. They needed an assistant so I stepped up; they needed a prompter so I stepped up to that as well. I felt like I was surrounded by lots of people and I was. I loved prompting which is when you correct people I was EXCITED!!!! I love all of the performances especially the last one!' 
Jodie-Page, who was Assistant Director. (Her prompting skills were never needed.)

'To be lion was not easy I was loud but was unhappy and scared when Quince our master said that the lion was all about roaring. Sometimes I found it difficult to roar in the correct time, sometimes I didn’t even roar…When the lights were fixed it was time to reveal our secret to our live audience. I was shy and scared, my heart was pounding.I felt happy, I talked loud and roared scary like a real lion.' 
Ophelia, who played Snug/Lion (Ophelia has been in England less than a year.)

'As a few weeks went passed it was time to show the whole school. We went on I felt like laughing instead of being scared I could not stop smiling.'
Lisa, who played a Courtier. (Lisa is another EAL pupil.) 

'My best friend got a main part - Puck. She learned her lines very quickly and I learned most of her lines by hearing them 2000 times… As we were practicing for the play each day more background and props were being made. Our Headteacher, Mrs Stuart, got us some great theatre lights for £3,000 they are very good so now every time there is a play they will have lights... All the cast were excited to perform in front of all the parents and others in the big audience... Ophelia has a very loud voice and she got a part as Snug the joiner, near the end Ophelia had to be a lion and she actually roared as loud as a lion, some of the parents looked frightened... When we actually performed it was so good, everyone knew their lines it was fabulous.' 
Eloise, who played a Courtier

'I had so many lines, I was actually quite worried if I could learn all of this lines in a few weeks. This was challenging!!! But I was gonna try my best anyway..At the end of the parents” play I was very proud and so were my parents. I really liked the experience of being on stage. And so did my friends.'

Wiktoria, who played Hermia (Wiki has been in England less than 2 years)

'The day I learned all my lines da da daaa! I felt amazed, spectacular important. I felt like I had the world in my palm.' 
Ibrahim, who played Oberon (Ibrahim is another EAL pupil.) 

'We practiced a lot but it was worth it' 
Johnfredline who played Snout/Wall (Johnfredline is an EAL pupil.)

Andy Smith

Andy Smith

Andy Smith, from Langland Primary School in Milton Keynes, has been a classroom teacher for 30 years mainly in schools in areas of high deprivation. He is blogging about his school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of RSC Dream Team 2016.

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